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At Lean Conference Practitioners Report that Learning is the Basis of Measurable Results


Overview of the Management Roundtable’s Second Annual Lean Product Development Summit, Chicago, June 6 and 7, 2007.
Experts and practitioners alike emphasized the importance of learning in creating a lean environment for new product development, at this second annual conference.  Keynote speaker Don Reinertsen, President of Reinertsen and Associates, emphasized the need to question received wisdom; the example of no single company, however successful, can serve as an off-the-shelf template for lean product development, he advised.  Another keynote speaker, Mary Poppendieck, President of Poppendieck LLC, discussed how the avoidance of the “batch and queue” approach and a focus on information flow are keys to lean. Case studies from SRAM Corporation, Badger Meter, Inc., Kennametal, Inc., Corbis Corporation, Abbott Diagnostics, Critical Point Group, Steelcase, Inc., and Boeing Commercial Airplane Group provided real world examples of how lean depends on continuous learning. The case studies examined the role of lean change agents; means of managing work in process; the importance of visual learning in creating a lean focus; how to capture learning from project to project; and how focusing on the critical few project indicators can be a key to slicing time and costs.
(7 pages)

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